ASU students talk with men behind 'Jackass 3D'

The State Press and a handful of ASU students took part in a question-and-answer session with Johnny Knoxvile and director Jeff Tremain, the men behind the phenomenon of “Jackass.”

For the third entry to the “Jackass” film franchise, Knoxville and crew will be taking their outrageous stunts into another dimension, the third to be exact.

As Knoxville put it, “We’re going to take James Cameron’s 3D technology in 'Avatar' and shove it up Steve-O’s butt!”

“Jackass” began as a television series at the dawn of the 21st century. The show was, in its own right, groundbreaking in the art of self-injuring stunts.

Sure, it was flat out disgusting at times. But for every cringe there was a laugh-out-loud moment. And in the midst of all the self-inflicting pain and ridiculous, yet clever, pranks, the show was truly about a band of misfits who love their professions and the company of one another.

The audience enjoyed the antics of the “Jackass” crew too, making it a runaway hit for MTV.

“We didn’t even think the show would make it,” Knoxville said. “We’re surprised but appreciate it.”

But after only three seasons, Knoxville announced he would be leaving the show; he was fed up with censors.

Out of this came the 2002 feature-length film, “Jackass: The Movie,” where they had free range to do anything they wanted. The film became a surprise hit, opening at No. 1 at the box office.

This made leeway for them to making the equally successful, “Jackass Number Two” in 2006. Now this weekend comes “Jackass 3D.”

Among all the stunts in the movie, Knoxville said his favorite is “a revisiting of the notorious Porta-Potty stunt. Steve-O is horrified of roller coasters and bungee jumping so we combined those with the Porta-Potty. It’s one of the best things in the movie.”

When asked if anybody ever absolutely refused to do a stunt, Knoxville replied, “They sometimes refuse. That’s when Tremaine steps in and they do it.”

“The ones they really don’t want to do are usually the best,” Tremaine said.

Both Knoxville and Tremaine wanted to make it abundantly clear that they do not endorse teenagers reenacting the stunts they do.

“It’s a real bummer because we give a warning and we mean it,” Knoxville said.

There have been many instances when even a trained professional such as Knoxville has come close to death.

“A bull once 360ed me and I landed on my neck. I got a concussion but I walked away,” he said.

“Jackass 3D” resulted in trips to the hospital for the entire cast, one of which involved a broken penis.

What ultimately has made “Jackass” work is the chemistry and sincerity of the cast. Knoxville said that it’s not their intention to create bad vibes and if everybody feels uncomfortable they will shut a stunt down.

“We were going to do a stunt where the Donor Family lived and decided not to do it,” he said.

Despite some recent changes amongst the cast, such as Steven’s sobriety, everyone still manages to maintain the same high spirits.

“Steven proved that he could be an idiot even without the alcohol,” Tremaine said. As beat-up and scarred as their bodies may become, these men’s juvenile spirits will never die.

Reach reporter at nspake@asu.edu


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